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Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

January 4, 2022 by Steven M. Gursten

Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

Concussions are one of the most common types of brain injuries from car accidents. It is also common for automobile crash victims to suffer: (1) diffuse axonal injury; (2) hematomas and hemorrhages; (3) brain contusions; (4) edema; (5) skull fracture; (6) penetrating injuries; and (7) second impact syndrome.

When you have suffered one of these types of brain injuries from car accidents, you need an experienced brain injury attorney who can protect your legal rights to auto No-Fault insurance benefits, as well as for pain and suffering compensation from the wrongdoer driver who caused your injuries and losses.

Our experience and national reputation for obtaining record-setting verdicts and settlements for our automobile crash clients who are TBI survivors allows our TBI lawyers to very often recover settlements both faster and for significantly more money from the insurance companies than most other personal injury lawyers who do not specialize in automobile crash cases and do not have our track record of proven results in TBI cases.

Call us toll free anytime at (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation or visit our contact page.

Below I will discuss each of the types of brain injuries from car accidents in greater detail.

Types of Brain Injuries From Car Accidents


One of the types of brain injuries from car accidents is a concussion. This injury is often caused in an automobile crash when the occupant is subjected to a sudden acceleration and deceleration of forces. It can also be caused in an automobile crash as a result of a person’s head impacting a steering wheel, window, headrest or other object, but an impact is not always necessary to cause a concussion. A concussion can also be caused by the cerebrum being violently shaken, such as in a coup-contrecoup mechanism of injury that results in the cerebrum moving forcefully against the front and back of a person’s skull.

These types of brain injuries from car accidents can often result in loss of consciousness (although one can still have a very serious and disabling head injury without a loss of consciousness). Most concussion victims are unable to accurately report whether they actually lost consciousness or not, but most will feel dazed and confused, and often report struggling to comprehend what is going on around them.

Concussion symptoms include: (1) headaches; (2) loss of cognitive function; (3) difficulty with concentration; (4) memory loss; (5) disorientation; and (6) temporary or permanent damage to the cerebrum.

Diffuse axonal injury

A diffuse axonal injury is one of the types of brain injuries from car accidents that occurs when the connections between the cerebrum’s nerve fibers (axons) and the spinal cord are torn due to the trauma from an automobile crash causing a person’s brain to violently shift forward and backward and/or rotate.

The results range from cognitive dysfunction to swelling to permanent damage to the cerebrum and even death.

Hematoma and hemorrhage

Hematomas and hemorrhages are very dangerous types of brain injuries from car accidents. They involve blood gathering inside the skull and putting pressure on and damaging a person’s cerebrum. The result can be a loss of consciousness, impaired cognitive functioning and/or permanent damage to the cerebrum.

There are two types of hemorrhage. An intracerebral hemorrhage involves bleeding within a person’s brain tissue, whereas a subarachnoid hemorrhage involves bleeding between a person’s cerebrum and skull.

A hematoma involves the gathering or clotting of cerebral and/or intracranial blood.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

This is actually not an injury per se, but a mechanism of injury that is often seen in automobile crashes. The name refers to the “blow” and “counter-blow” that a person’s cerebrum suffers when his or her head is violently jarred frontwards and backwards by the forces of a crash.

Even though the forces of the crash cause a person’s head and, thus, skull to be thrown forward, the person’s cerebrum within his or her skull remains temporarily stationary. As a result, the brain can slam into the rear and then catapult forward to smash into the sharp bony ridges and prominences in the front of the skull that normally act to hold our cerebrums in place and to protect our brains.

Brain contusion

A brain contusion is another one of the types of brain injuries from car accidents that involve bleeding either within a person’s skull and/or within the tissue of the person’s cerebrum. This injury is often caused by the acceleration and deceleration of forces from a an automobile crash, or from the head striking a windshield or other object within the vehicle.

Because these types of brain injuries from car accidents involve blood vessels breaking and actual damage to the cerebrum, it can cause swelling and pressure to build up within the cerebrum, resulting in potentially very serious, even fatal injury if medical treatment is not immediately available. .

Symptoms of a brain contusion often include confusion, tiredness, headaches, problems with memory, concentration and attention and various types of emotional distress such as depression.


One of the types of brain injuries from car accidents is an edema, which occurs when the trauma of a crash causes a person’s cerebrum to swell. Brain swelling is very dangerous and potentially deadly because if the skull cannot accommodate the swelling, the cerebrum will suffer additional tearing physical damage, as well as a resultant chemical and inflammatory cascade from it pressing against the skull.

Skull fracture

A skull fracture is one of the types of brain injuries from car accidents that occurs when a an automobile crash causes a person’s head to strike an object such as a window, dashboard or steering wheel with such force that it breaks the bones of the person’s skull.

The fractured skull bones could be forced into the person’s cerebrum tissue and cause brain damage. Infection at the fracture site is also possible.

Penetrating injuries

The types of brain injuries from car accidents that result in an object penetrating a person’s cerebrum are called penetrating injuries. As the name suggests, this type of injury occurs when an automobile crash causes an object to strike a person’s head, break through the skull and penetrate into the person’s brain.

Serious and potentially long-term or permanent cerebrum damage can result from a penetrating brain injury. A penetrating injury can also be fatal, depending on its location and the degree of penetration.

Symptoms of or signs that a penetrating brain injury may have occurred include: (1) blood oozing from a person’s head; (2) difficulty breathing; (3) loss of consciousness; (4) disorientation; and (5) an inability to think or communicate clearly.

Second Impact Syndrome/Reserve Brain Capacity

Anyone who has suffered a TBI is at risk of experiencing the dangerous and potentially deadly second impact syndrome. Doctors who treat cerebrum injuries often also refer to this as reserve brain injury, as this is a cumulative injury when one brain injury is superimposed on an already injured and damaged brain. The consequences can be devastating.

Suffering a second impact syndrome type of cerebrum injury is extremely dangerous because it increases the chances of the person suffering life-altering, catastrophic damage to the cerebrum. This is especially true when a crash victim has not yet fully healed from his or her first TBI.

Have questions? Get answers from an experienced Michigan Brain Injury attorney now

If you have questions about the types of brain injuries from car accidents that you may have suffered and you want to know about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and No-Fault benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages, you can speak to an experienced Michigan attorney at (800) 968-1001  for a free consultation. You can also get help from an experienced TBI attorney by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.

For more than 50 years, our TBI lawyers have been helping people like you who have suffered a cerebrum injury from an automobile crash. We understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardships you are experiencing from your automobile crash. We can help.

While our law firm has repeatedly recovered the top reported traumatic TBI settlement or trial verdict in the state of Michigan for our clients, as reported by year-end compilations from Michigan Lawyers Weekly newspaper, even more important is how our attorneys care, communicate, and treat the people we help. To see what our own clients have to say, about their experience here on our testimonials page. You can also read about our 100% client satisfaction guarantee.

(Source: Brain Injury Association of America, “Understanding Brain Injury” page)

Types of Brain Injuries from Car Accidents

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